“Anything a gay man wants to find in Atlanta, he can find at MISTER” is the motto for Positive Impact’s M.I.S.T.E.R. program, a branch of the nonprofit AIDS service organization dedicated to providing culturally competent mental health and prevention services for people affected by HIV.
M.I.S.T.E.R. stands for Men’s Information Services: Testing * Empowerment * Resources.
Through state, federal and foundation grants, the M.I.S.T.E.R. program is able to offer free rapid HIV testing for walk-ins on Mondays through Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. as well as Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and also on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
M.I.S.T.E.R. also provides men free STD screenings for such diseases as gonorrhea, syphilis and Chlamydia on a walk-in basis Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 5 p.m.
Testing is not the only thing M.I.S.T.E.R. provides, according to its website. A main goal of the project is to guide men to have healthy relationships with each other, face issues of internalized homophobia and low self-esteem, and also address substance abuse as well as other major issues including domestic violence.
Empowering gay men is a top priority for M.I.S.T.E.R. The program’s “Friend to Friend” event meets once a week for four weeks to discuss issues of self-esteem, substance abuse and relationship issues, the website states.
“This culminates in a 90-minute wrap-up session to discuss lessons learned and experience and skills gained, and perhaps to even share how new friendships have been formed with other men during the experience,” the program’s website states.
M.I.S.T.E.R. also offers its Relationships, Intimacy & Sex Experience for gay and bisexual men, or R.I.S.E.
“The RISE project is designed to help gay men better understand relationships and dating, self-esteem, homophobia, sexual identity, communication, and negotiation skills,” states the organization’s website.
“The group experience promotes and reinforces support of each other. The experience includes presentations by the facilitator, group discussion, video presentation, and an opportunity for participants to share their own stories, to role-play scenarios, and perhaps even make a new friend.”